Assembly member Dr. Akilah Weber Announces Legislation Addressing Maternity Ward Closures in California
Assemblymember Akilah Weber, M.D. (D- La Mesa) announced that she will be introducing legislation to address the issue of abrupt maternity ward closures. The bill will enhance the existing state review process before a maternity ward closes which would include an assessment of the impact of the closure on the surrounding community. According to a CalMatter’s article from last month, at least 46 maternity wards have closed since 2012,leaving twelve counties, most of them rural, without any hospitals delivering babies.
“These birthing deserts make it difficult for pregnant persons to ensure that they will have a place that is equipped with the properly trained personnel to deliver their baby. Traveling long distances to find a hospital with an open labor and delivery unit should not be something a pregnant person should have to worry about in California,” said Assemblymember Weber.
This bill will require a state review process before a maternity ward closes as well as a report measuring the impact of the closure on the surrounding community. “According to a recent JAMA study, the maternal mortality rates have increased in California over the past few decades and I am concerned that with the closure of these maternity wards, those mortality rates will continue to increase. As a practicing OB/GYN, I look forward to working with relevant stakeholders and state departments to develop a feasible proposal,” concluded Weber.
Assemblymember Akilah Weber, M.D. represents California’s 79th Assembly District, which includes La Mesa, Lemon Grove, Spring Valley/La Presa, and parts of the cities of El Cajon and San Diego. Website of Assemblymember Akilah Weber, M.D: www.a79.asmdc.org.
Photo: by Jaimin Rana, Wikimedia Commons